Leon Russell, a Rock and Roll and Songwriter Hall of Famer who collaborated with music legends like Elton John and the Rolling Stones, died this weekend. He was 74.
News of his death was revealed on the musician’s website: “Leon Russell died on Nov. 13, 2016 in Nashville at the age of 74. His wife said that he passed away in his sleep. The Master Of Space And Time was a legendary musician and songwriter originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma who performed his gospel-infused southern boogie piano rock, blues, and country music for over 50 years.”
Russell’s wife, Jan Bridges, said in a statement, “We thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this very, very difficult time. My husband passed in his sleep in our Nashville home. He was recovering from heart surgery in July and looked forward to getting back on the road in January. We appreciate everyone’s love and support.”
John, who collaborated with Russell on the 2010 album The Union and helped induct him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, paid tribute on Instagram. “My darling Leon Russell passed away last night,” he wrote. “He was a mentor, inspiration and so kind to me. Thank God we caught up with each other and made The Union. He got his reputation back and felt fulfilled. I loved him and always will.”
In July 2006, Russell suffered a heart attack and later underwent bypass surgery. He suffered another heart attack earlier this year, and a news release from the Oklahoma Historical Society stated he underwent tests to prep for further surgery.